Friday, June 28, 2013

Okay - begin the panic - 12 week marathon training plans?

So yesterday I had an email - I know, I know, stand back - an email (new things those, I think they might catch on!). In the email was a reminder, a polite, warm, kind, note to say "there are 12 weeks until the Berlin Marathon"... at which point I frankly started worrying hugely.

I have not seen the last of the injury that kept me out of running the Milton Keynes marathon and training has been about as consistent as the injury - sometimes fine, but mostly just weak and wobbly.

Happily in the reminder was a link to a 12-week program so perhaps I'll be okay after having had to set aside the 20-week and 16-week plans already.

Anyone used a 12-week plan with a decent marathon run on the end of it?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lightening did strike twice in a week

I actually ran twice this week, and although my knee is not totally at peace with my activities I am hopeful that perhaps I can get some running done in the coming weeks. Now that I have allowed myself that thought I have to focus on not getting carried away with myself given that I will all to happily ramp up a training block so that I am ahead of any actual plan. It comes down to a wrestling match with my running ego, that little voice saying "oh, come on you've run further than this!", or "wow, you can run that loop faster than that man!", I really have to hold on to the reigns and stop myself from jumping back into old distances and times because experience has taught me all too well that that way another injury lies.

Running today with my partner in training crime was I feel just what the doctor ordered :- conversational pace at all times, good friendly distracting chat before, during and after the run, and a reminder to stretch afterwards (because he is good that way). I needed the distracting chat the most to stop my brain wandering into over-analysis mode "what is my injury doing?", "does that feel right?", "am I running the with the proper form?", "shouldn't I place my foot differently?".... and so on. After a chat about GPS he even managed to strengthen and back up my idea not to look at my watch for the next few weeks of runs - the idea being to wear it to log distance and routes but not for in run real time data about pace and so forth. This GPS thing again designed in my mind to free myself from trying to run like I was a few months back and make sure I step back to basics.

Part of the 'new' strategy is to step back (no pun intended) and use big Brooks Beast running shoes again. I had begun to convince myself that I didn't need the heavy, cushioned, anti-roll shoes and was allowing sales people to sell me lighter less cushioned shoes, but given that they served me so well and kept me from injury when I weighed as much as I used to made me put my faith back with them. So far they have felt like old slippers (even though I did have to fork out for a new pair) and have been hugely reassuring to run on these last two outings (which truth be told weren't super slow as my friend has really improved his run fitness in recent months while I've been in and out of injury, etc.). All being well my knee will grant me permission to carry on this back to basics / back to running strategy and let me get back to what I get a huge buzz out of doing - running.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And tonight I ran

And so tonight I ran for the first time in what seems like an eternity, and happily so far so good with the knee. 8.5 km in 44 mins was a pretty good canter and was good fun on a warm evening. Fingers are now though firmly crossed that I don't get a reaction in the injury by the morning.

Sorry I've not blogged much recently, frankly I am a little annoyed by the amount of spam appearing in my blog stats. I look because it is nice to see the odd reader stop by but it has been hard to see any real visitors in my stats page of late thanks to these prats. I am not clicking their links, I am not quoting their URLs, I am simply not giving them any more oxygen than to generically say 'they' are driving me round the twist.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Wednesday Witter

At the start of a very busy day I grabbed my stuff and headed off across the car park towards my workplace musing "we'll see what today will bring", with it has to be said a slight tinge of resignation to rolling with the daily punches of endeavour. Then it occurred to me that in management or positive mental attitude speak I had that little phrase all wrong - and so with as big an ironic smile as I dare muster wandering across a busy city centre I pondered "what will I bring to today".
From an article by Richard Wiseman in The Observer, Saturday 30 June 2012 22.40 BST  
See the difference? Hmm, I'll let you know how it shakes out.... short witterings today (follow the link in the image above for a good coffee break read) because I have projects to organise, interviews to sit in on, relatives to organise for the weekend, oh, and a Bon Jovi concert to go to tonight with my sister :-D  Whatever I bring to today for tomorrow I will be bringing a head full ringing (from the amps set to 11), a tired body (from jumping about), and no voice (from singing my lungs out)!

Hope you enjoy your Wednesday whether it brings things to you or indeed you bring things to it.

Warm, overcast, unsettled weather - good job the Millennium Stadium has a roof for tonights gig.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Type II diabetes - reduce your risk

I am planning to run the Berlin marathon in aid of Diabetes UK and a few weeks ago I picked up one of their information sheets in a local supermarket. So I thought I would pass on what I read, and it is in the most part copied from the flier - but I am thinking they really wouldn't mind a little blatant palagrism in a the name of a good cause.

Apparently in the U.K. there are 7 million people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Which equates to approximately 11% of the population*.

Those at most risk:-
Anyone overweight especially anyone with a large tummy.

Those who may have a higher than average risk:-
People of Black African, Caribbean and South Asian origin. As well as those over 40 (or over 25 if you are South Asian).

Other risk indicators are:-
Having a parent, brother or sister with diabetes.
Having ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack, or a stroke.
Having a mental illness for which you have taken medication.
Women, having had polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes, or a baby weighing over 10 pounds.

Lower your risk:-
The better news is that by eating a healthy balanced diet, keeping active and managing your weight can significantly reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes.

To find out more about Diabetes UK and how we care for, connect with and campaign on behalf of everyone affected by, and at risk of, diabetes, visit or call 0845 123 2399.

If you would like to support the work of this fantastic charity visit their site or if you like go to my JustGiving page for my Berlin marathon run at

* - based upon the UK Office of National Statistics 2011 census estimation that just over 63 million people reside in the U.K.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Wednesday Witter

I have had to change the title of my occasional (sometimes even regular) weekly waffle, it seems that 'Wittering on Wednesday' might be just fine but by shortening that to 'WoW' on a blog which is for the most part about exercise 'WoW' may cause some small confusion with the cross-fitters version of 'WoW' - "Workout of the Week". No confusion was intended, not that anyone finding one of my WoW posts would be in any doubt after reading two lines or so.

With all that said this Wednesday's witter seems like me to be suffering from fatigue, I have been getting on the move of late hoping to sort out an injury, and it seems the extra workload is tiring me out. I will take some time to adjust to the new routine, and this much I have learned during my blogging days - you do adapt to new routines and habits quicker than you think (once you get past the initial resistance). So for me that is the exciting prospect of early nights to help the tiredness while I adjust and settle.

I have been busier with this blog nonsense of late (as my wife pointed out), and whether this is because I'm living out my running vicariously at the moment, or a genuine deep seated need to write stuff down, I am not entirely sure. Anyway it turns out I am usually at my most prolific in August (see my swiftly constructed graphic below), so perhaps this year I am just blooming early - I blame the crazy weather.

Did I really? Well I never! - my average number of blog posts per month over the years 2006-2012
Have to say as a diary type blog the graph does confirm one of my paper diary trends that January always sets out with good intentions (!). Could be cruel and make some comment about consistency, but hey this is a blog about life and few lives are consistent (at least thats my defence) :-)

Sunny, warm, decent breeze, some Simpsons title sequence type clouds moving through - looks like a fine day for gardening and being outdoors.

For a few moments I thought this was the most viewed thing I'd written all month until I spotted two new referrer spams have taken up residence in my google stats. Thanks for your 'interest' spammers now go do something a little more worthwhile!!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Sunshine rolling

Feeling good today, I have ridden the bike (my wife's now old bike) to work and back two days on the trot - I am indeed a fair weather cyclist. I haven't exactly been thumping along, between strange bike, busy cycle ways (all those other fair weather cyclists out too, damn it), and the lack of fitness. It has been great to get back into an old pattern and I am already resolving to keep it going in my quest to regain all around on the move fitness.

Happily my knee hasn't grumbled about the cycling, and although it still isn't better I do hope that it will sort itself out soon. Everywhere I look at the moment there is another article on stretching so I have no excuses not to be doing it and getting things stabilised. Not sure when I'll threaten my knee with another run, but I will be on the move and trying to heal it with plenty of active recovery.

Sunny, warm, gentle breeze - perfect day for commuting on your bike here in Wales ;-)

Monday, June 03, 2013

My Monday motivation - Road-to-Berlin (2)

Charity - which aside for beginning at home - is one of the biggest motivations for many runners in large events. For me the charity doesn't so much begin at home as it is close to home, a member of my close family. I am planning to run the 2013 Berlin marathon for my eldest niece, who last year at the age of nine was diagnosed with type I diabetes.

Over Christmas in the aftermath of the diagnosis I was telling everyone of my plan to run two marathons in 2013 and how I would like to run one of them for a diabetes charity for my niece. My niece was pleased at the thought though was a little unsure of which charity I should run for. In the UK their are two leading diabetes charities that I am aware of - one supporting primary research as a lead focus and the other supporting patients and families with the disease as their lead focus. As a researcher myself I was drawn very heavily towards the former, but in the end my niece chose the latter as in fact a nurse from the charity - DiabetesUK - had visited her in the days immediately after the diagnosis and made a clear and lasting impression on her. So then the deal was struck with my niece - I would run the Berlin marathon (a major city 'World Series' marathon) for DiabetesUK to repay that kindness and to support their ongoing good work.
Click to visit their homepage
Click to visit their homepage
I have, of course, a JustGiving page set up for my efforts and even though I am struggling right now with a knee issue I will try to raise money regardless of whether I toe the start line on race day or not. If you have any coins, notes, credit or whatever to spare my niece, the charity, and I would be so grateful if you can give what you can.

My niece has taken really well to the new regimen of multi per-day tests and injections, happily she was old enough at diagnosis / onset to understand much of what she needs to do and why. Going forward her and her family will undoubtedly face challenges, but for the time being she is super active (swimming as a member of a local swimming club) and is smart enough to tackle any challenges head on. Going forward I rest assured that the healthcare where my sister and family live is meeting their needs and that there are wonderful charities like Diabetes UK there to pick up any gaps whilst providing terrific patient advocacy.

As a small footnote, I am not in any way financially supported by the charity to go to the race, I am not part of any kind of all-in charity travel / race package. My wife and I will (fitness permitting) make our own way to Berlin for the race and so forth. The charity have very kindly provided me a sponsor pack with further information about their work, a sponsor form, and one of their racing vests which I will wear with pride on race day.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Wishing I was lucky

I ran again yesterday for the first time since last Monday, and whereas the Monday run felt mostly fine apart from a single knee twinge and some post race aches yesterday however was different -from the outset I felt my knee with each footfall. It was nothing sharp and not intense but it was there - a dull ache inside my knee cap with each landing. I could not work out what to do, was I being paranoid paying it too much attention then running in an unusually slow awkward way, was it about to break down, was it going to disappear any moment, was I stupid, should I stop and head home. In the end I found it wasn't getting worse and so I kept trying to alter my running form in an ongoing attempt to alleviate the ache.

After about a third of the run I got into a rhythm and things felt better throughout my kinetic chain though I was getting fearful now that my brain had dupped me by kicking in a compensation mechanism that would ultimately lead to a different muscle or joint to joining the party. I went with the joy of comfort and in the end ran a decent time for the loop (10.3km in 63minutes, a loop I normally run a lot), but when I slowed to stop I could feel that my knee was not at all happy. I am still trying to work out what is a joint issue and what is a lack of all around fitness issue, although the fact that it felt like no post run soreness or stiffness I have experienced before leaves me worried.

It looks like I will be keeping up my stretching / strengthening routine and heading to the physio at some point this week for a thorough opinion of how this thing is evolving, and morevoer whether anything warrants closer medical inspection. Until I see him I am going to try my best to keep a lid on my nerves... the more this lingers the more concerned I am that I might end up stratching the next marathon too, and this is an outcome that will tear me up as I have invested huge amounts of emotion in taking it on.

So I find myself wishing I will get lucky and that I can get back to training for the race properly.